Describe the Most Ideal Method a Health Reporter Can Use to Establish News Sources for Health Reporting

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  • Topic: Mass media, Journalist, Reporter
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  • Published : April 8, 2013
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Describe the most ideal method a health reporter can use to establish news sources for health reporting

News is what it is today because of the activities of people. It is people who write the news and in most cases it is also people who make the news. People like writing about other people hence the importance and worthiness of news. The most important point to note in as far as news gathering is concerned is the importance of sources. Sources can make or break a story and they play an important role in news and without sources there are no stories. Although health reporting is a new discipline whose growth can be attributed to the emergence of diseases in the world, its growth has been phenomenal mainly because health issues affect everyone in one way or the other and also the fact that health issues transcend many barriers. Although they are a number of methods a reporter can use to determine news sources for health reporting some methods have stood the test of time and continue to contribute immensely to the growth of health reporting as a discipline. This paper will take a look at the health reporter with a view to outlining the best method a health reporter can use to establish news sources. It is important at this point to define a source in general terms. In journalism, a source is a person, publication, or other record or document that gives timely information. Outside journalism, sources are sometimes known as "news sources", examples of sources include official records, publications or broadcasts, officials in government or business, organizations or corporations, witnesses of crime, accidents or other events, and people involved with or affected by a news event or issue. According to McQuail (1994), there are a multitude of factors that tend to condition the acceptance of sources as bona fide by journalists. Reporters are expected to develop and cultivate sources, especially if they regularly cover a specific topic, known as a ‘beat’. Beat reporters must, however, be cautious of becoming too close to their sources. Reporters often, but not always, give greater leeway to sources with little experience. For example, sometimes a person will say they don't want to talk, and then proceed to talk, if that person is not a public figure, reporters are less likely to use that information. Journalists are also encouraged to be skeptical without being cynical.

Stryker (2008) notes journalistic practices favour the use of established sources. The impact of news media coverage on health status and health policy has long been established. Recent work has examined how media coverage may influence individual health decisions and preventive behaviors and how coverage of health-related issues can lead to changes in public policy and public perception. Scholars have theorised many models to explain the influence of the news media. Such models include traditional theories of media effects like agenda setting McCombs & Shaw, health behavior theories like social learning theory and stage-based theories These models all assume, however, that the news media regularly report on health.

While in general, there is at least a strong correlation between medical press releases and subsequent mass media news, press-released papers were twice more likely to be cited than papers which weren’t included in press releases. It is possible that papers appear in press releases to begin with because the journals consider them ‘newsworthy. Although it has been shown that they are a number of sources that a reporter can use in health reporting it can be said that the major source of health information can be said to be people in the community themselves, the best source for health reporting originates within the society itself. This is so because health information is so diverse and because it affects the people the most it is therefore imperative to have the people as the major source of health information. It is also so because...
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